Silencing, speech & being-in-the-world: deliberate violence and the un-sharability of suffering
Amongst teaching and marking, getting ready for LASA in a fortnight’s time, and working on the early days of what I think is going to be a really exciting project on youth and peace, I’ve been reading and watching various things which seem to have converged in my thinking. Perhaps, too, I’m in a reflective mood as I wait for the formal conferral of my doctorate and move forward with plans and proposals for jobs and research. This post then is an unapologetic meander through thoughts specifically around silencing, voice and speech, and violence and power that break relations and close off individuals from the world. It echoes early work in my phd, and it continues to sit below the surface (or more visibly on the surface in some cases) of much that I am preoccupied with academically and more broadly.
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…the ontological metaphors that surface in situations of radical victimage tend to express loss or limitation in one’s freedom of movement (being bound, cornered, trapped, cut off, imprisoned, petrified, paralysed, exposed, alone, stuck, crushed, oppressed, undermined, thrown) or severe restrictions on one’s freedom of speech (being gagged, silenced, stifled, speechless, dumstruck, unheeded) (Jackson, 2006: 43).
When starting my phd I planned to write and research young people’s lives by paying attention to the structures and systems that silence young people, as well as finding their voices through attention to narrative practice. What does it mean to be silenced? How can you locate and legitimize the voices of those marginalized without presuming to speak for them (and fall in the same trap you are trying to avoid)? How can a focus on narratives, on speaking, on storytelling and lived experience counter structural marginalization and silencing?